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    Corporation Lane, courtesy of City of Melbourne.

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    Corporations Lane, March 1963, courtesy of City of Melbourne.

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    Corporations Lane (2), courtesy of City of Melbourne.

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    Correspondence between Wisewould & Gibbs and Town Clerk, City of Melbourne, re Emu Place, 27 January 1877, courtesy of Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre.

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    Correspondence file between John Browne & others and John Anderson, City of Melbourne, re Whelans Lane, 16 October 1874, courtesy of Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre.

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    Correspondence file between Mary Flynn and Town Clerk, City of Melbourne, re the Gin Palace in Bourke St East, 1 February 1865, courtesy of Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre.

Lanes and Alleys

Governor Bourke suggested Melbourne's little streets as access routes to service properties fronting the major east-west thoroughfares, but Surveyor Hoddle's 1837 street grid made no provision for the lanes or alleys which by the 1850s had quickly proliferated within the city's large blocks. By the mid-1850s there were 80 named lanes and 112 rights-of-way, many private, in Central Melbourne. Lanes were used for deliveries, as workshops and extensions of warehouses and factories, for night-soil collection and as tips for rubbish. Often poorly lit, they were frequently used as makeshift public toilets, the stench of urine from the back lanes being one of the ubiquitous 19th-century city smells, particularly in the theatre and entertainment precincts.

Many of Melbourne's city councillors, functional zones, businesses, builders, immigrant ships, and hotels, are immortalised in the names of its lanes. In Fergus Hume's 1886 novel The mystery of a hansom cab, Calton and Kilsip turn off Bourke into the back streets as if descending into an inferno, keeping to the middle of the alley to avoid attack from the shadowy figures surrounding them. Throughout the city's history the politics of changing street names in reaction to offensive social connotations highlighted the social and moral geography of the city. Melbourne's lanes were popularly decried as Melbourne's 'infant St Giles', filthy backdrops to the main streets, the resort of the criminal and the deviant. Lanes were occasionally renamed under pressure from local residents concerned for their property values and the respectability of their neighbourhoods. In 1868 the name of Synagogue Lane was changed to Little Queen Street because the former name 'has unfortunately acquired a notoriety'. The name was changed again in 1909, this time to Bourke Lane. Condell's Lane was renamed Vallance Alley in 1874, though the old name was restored after a complaint from a resident who claimed the change would interfere with his business, having already printed up his business cards, letter papers and bill-heads with the old address. In 1876 Romeo Lane, with its 'disorderly' and 'immoral' associations, was changed to Crossley Street, residents claiming they were having trouble letting properties to respectable tenants, despite having replaced former 'dilapidated hovels' with 'superior stabling'. Blossom Alley off Little Bourke Street was changed to Barkly Place in 1913 'as more dignified and in keeping with its developed importance'.

In the latter decades of the 20th century, while Melbourne's lanes and alleys were recognised for their heritage character and as providing an important inner network of public space, many had been subsumed by developments such as Melbourne Central, Collins Place, and the Hyatt Hotel. Back lanes, once the target of slum clearance advocates, also added to the character of inner-city neighbourhoods. In 2004 Corporation Lane off Flinders Lane was renamed AC/DC Lane to commemorate the rock band whose 1975 It's a Long Way to the Top film clip featured the band performing on the back of a truck travelling down Swanston Street.

Andrew May

Bate, Weston, Essential but unplanned: The story of Melbourne's lanes, State Library of Victoria and the City of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1994. Details

See also

Adamson Lane
Albert Coates Lane
Albert Place
Albion Alley
Alfred Place
Alsop Lane
Alston Lane
Angelo Lane
Arc Lane
Arcade Alley
Argus Alley
Artemis Lane
Athenaeum Place
Austral Lane
Australia Arcade
Balcombe Place
Bank Place
Baptist Place
Barkly Place
Barrett Alley
Barry Lane
Batman Place
Beaney Lane
Bear Alley
Belman Place
Benjamin Lane
Bennetts Lane
Benson Lane
Bligh Place
Block Place
Bond Street
Bourke Place
Bowen Lane
Bowen Street
Brien Lane
Brights Place
Briscoe Lane
Brogans Lane
Brown Alley
Buckley Place
Builders Alley
Bull Alley
Bullens Lane
Burns Lane
Burton Street
Butchers Lane
Caledonian Lane
Campbell Lane
Capitol Arcade
Carsons Place
Casselden Place
The Causeway
Celestial Avenue
Centre Place
Centre Way
Centrepoint Mall
Chancery Lane
Chapter House Lane
Chester Lane
Chisholm Place
Church Lane
Church Street
Cleve Lane
Club Lane
Coates Lane East and Coates Lane West
Cocker Alley
Cohen Place
Coles Place
Collins Way
Commerce Way
Condells Lane
Constance Stone Lane
Coopers Alley
Coromandel Place
Corrs Lane
Cosgrave Lane
Cosgrave Place
Coverlid Place
Craigs Lane
Croft Alley
Crombie Lane
Crossley Street
Crown Place
Cumberland Place
Custom House Lane
Cyclorama Lane
Dame Edna Place
D'Arcy Alley
Davisons Place
Dawson Place
Dean Alley
Defence Plaza
Degraves Place
Degraves Street
Dikes Lane
Donaldson Lane
Downie Street
Drewery Alley
Drewery Lane
Drewery Place
Driver Lane
Duckboard Place
Eagle Alley
Eastern Arcade
Elizabeth Arcade
Elizabeth Place
Elliott Lane
Ellis Lane
Embank Arcade
Empire Arcade
Equitable Place
Evans Lane
Exploration Lane
Finlay Alley
Finn Place
Flanigan Lane
Fleming Place
Flinders Court
Flinders Lane
Flinders Way
Foxton Lane
Francis Street
Freemasons Lane
Fulham Place
Fultons Lane
Gallaghers Place
Galleria Plaza
Geddes Lane
George Lane
George Parade
Georges Place
Gills Alley
Globe Alley
Godfrey Street
Golden Fleece Alley
Goldie Place
Goldsbrough Lane
Gordon Place
Gorman Alley
Gough Alley
Gregory Lane
Gresham Street
Greville Place
Grice Alley
Griffin Lane
Grimes Alley
Guests Lane
Guildford Lane
Gun Alley
Gurners Lane
Hardware Lane North
Hardware Lane South
Harper Lane
Harwood Place
Haskin Lane
Hawke Place
Hay Place
Hayward Lane North
Hayward Lane South
Healeys Lane
Heape Court
Heffernan Lane
Henderson Place
Henty Place
Hetford Place
Hicks Lane
Highlander Lane
Higson Lane
Hockins Lane
Hosier Lane
Howey Place
Howitt Lane
Hughs Alley
Jacks Lane
Jane Bell Lane
Jones Lane
Katherine Place
Keeley Place
Kermode Lane
Kirks Lane
Kitz Lane
Knights Place
Knox Lane
Knox Place
Knox Place West
La Trobe Parade
La Trobe Place
Lacey Place
Laneway Commissions
Langs Lane
Law Courts Place
Lees Place
Leichardt Street
Lily Lane
Lingham Lane
Little Bourke Place
Little La Trobe Street
Little Leichardt Street
Little Queen Street
Little William Street
Liverpool Street
Lonsdale Lane
Louden Place
Lush Lane
Lynch Alley
Lynch Place
Madame Brussels Lane
Malthouse Lane
Manchester Lane
Manchester Place
Manton Lane
Market Lane
Market Street
Masons Lane
McCormac Place
McCormacks Place
McCrackens Lane
McGrath Lane
McGrath Place
McIlwraith Place
McIntyre Alley
McKillop Street
McLean Alley
McNeil Lane
Melbourne Place
Menzies Alley
Menzies Lane
Mercantile Place
Merlin Alley
Merriman Lane
Merritts Place
Metropole Arcade
Meyers Place
Michael Lane
Mill Place
Mint Place
Mitchell Lane
Mitre Lane
Monaghan Place
Moore Lane
Mornane Place
Mort Lane
Moylans Lane
Moynihans Right-Of-Way
Mu Arcade
New Chancery Lane
Niagara Lane
Nicholas Place
Nicholson Place
Oliver Lane
Oliver Place
Park Street
Patrick Street
Paynes Place
Pembroke Lane
Pender Alley
Pender Place
Penfold Place
Pink Alley
Portland Lane
Post Office Place
Presgrave Place
Pritchard Lane
Providence Place
Punch Lane
Queens Walk
Quirk Alley
Racing Club Lane
Rainbow Alley
Ramsay Lane
Ramsden Place
Rankins Lane
Red Cape Lane
Regent Place
Ridgway Place
Robbs Lane
Robertson Lane
Roeszler Lane
Rose Alley
Rothsay Lane
Royal Lane
Royston Place
Russell Place
Rutledge Lane
Ryries Lane
Sampson Lane
Samuel Lane
Scott Alley
Scotts Court
Sherwood Place
Shilling Lane
Sleights Lane
Smythe Lane
Sniders Lane
Somerset Place
Spark Lane
St Francis Street
St James Lane
St James Street
St Johns Lane
St Patricks Alley
Stafford Lane
Star Alley
Star Lane
Staughton Alley
Staughton Place
Stevenson Lane
Strachan Lane
Stubbs Lane
Sugden Place
Surry Place
Sutherland Street
Tattersalls Lane
Tavistock Place
Temple Court
Temple Court Place
Thomson Street
Throssell Lane
Timothy Lane
Turnbull Alley
Turnbull Place
Turners Alley
Ulster Lane
Uniacke Court
Union Lane
Union Place
Victoria Arcade
Victoria Lane
Waratah Place
Warburton Alley
Warburton Lane
Warner Lane
Watson Place
Westwood Place
White Hart Lane
Wicklow Lane
Williams Lane
Windsor Place
Winfield Square
Wrights Lane
Zevenboom Lane